Sue White's Journey with Sugar
My name is Sue White and I am a beast cancer survivor. Funny how that is getting easier to say with every passing year. The first five years it was hard to pass those words from my lips, uncertainty just haunting me. The next five years it was a bit easier until my best friend had a reoccurrence in her year ten and left this world after two more years of battling the disease. It almost felt like I started over with survivorship counting. Ugh. Anyway here I am in year 16 of my survivorship and going strong. Focusing on staying healthy and vibrant and present.
Recently I had noticed that my joints were puffy, sore and uncomfortable. I am a fitness instructor, teaching usually eight to ten classes a week. I also swim, ride and run pretty regularly training for the occasional race or triathlon. So I would say I am very active. This stiffness bothered me physically and emotionally. It is not in my plan to slow down or change my active lifestyle BUT something was wrong and needed some attention. I had a clear mammogram less than six months ago and my monthly self exam of my remaining left breast has been not produced any concerns.
So it had to be the INTAKE. What I was putting INTO my body. I thought I had always lived by the 80/20 rule. Good 80% of the time. But being super active I need to make sure I take on enough calories to support my lifestyle. How would I do this? SUGAR. That’s right. Cookies, brownies , cakes , candy bars, french bread and bagels I could go on. Since I was preschool age at my Grandmother’s house I have eaten cookies for breakfast. A sweet after lunch, tea and cookies in the mid afternoon and ice cream before bed. Not only that but plenty of pasta and sourdough bread with the marinara sauce and a couple of glasses of wine or a beer or two with dinner. Remember I could do this as I burn through an extra 1000 calories a day in exercise.
I have never had a problem with my weight and never really weighed my myself on a regular basis. So when I noticed these changes in my joints I also took stock and noticed the mid section was beginning to get a little wider. I am almost 58 and put that down to hormonal changes.
This is what happened.
I called my daughter Alanna. She is very conscientious about her diet. She is Paleo and works at a Gym helping people with their diets and exercise programs. When I told what I was experiencing the first words out of her mouth. “Mum you have to cut out the SUGAR.” NO………..I knew she was right but that was so hard to comprehend. I had managed for 57 years perfectly fine with my sugar.
Days 3 to 6 of no sugar I had the very worst headache and nausea. I would find my self parked in front of my favorite bakery not knowing how I got there. I started to read the labels on the food packages diligently for sugar contents…Some of the things I read just blew me away. I had no idea OR I just didn’t want to know. The reality of how much processed sugar is in our grocery aisles is just too depressing. Within 6 days I had lost six pounds which is NOT okay. I had to figure out a way to bring up my caloric intake with good carbohydrates, more protein and healthy fats. Within 2 weeks my joints were feeling so much relief. Four weeks in I barely even notice the stiffness that had plagued them. Six weeks in my waistline had lost the roll it was developing. Eight weeks in my cravings for sugar are way down.(not completely gone)
What have I learned? I cannot recommend a diet that works for everyone, we all have to find our own way. But I feel I have a good story to tell that once again proves that good diet and exercise are the bottom line of a healthy and happy life.
Again I am staying on the 80/20 rule and allow my self the occasional sweet ….and boy do I enjoy it……Life is too short to deprive your self of such pleasures but they become more appreciated when you have earned them. There are days when I feel that I just don’t have the willpower to stay in line. That’s okay. I tell myself that’s okay and move on. Next time I test myself and say” hey today will power is going to win” Having a cheer leader who will listen to my angst and allow me to be a human and fail as well as succeed has made such a difference.
It is a work in progress and a Life style change for me but I am so much happier for it. Knowing I am doing the BEST I can do for myself and my family and friends by keeping myself healthy is what matters. Being able to say with a big smile on my face “I am a sixteen year Survivor” is what matters.